“In my case, I used the elements of these simple forms – square, cube, line and color – to produce logical systems. Most of these systems were finite; that is, they were complete using all possible variations. This kept them simple.” – Sol LeWitt
Sol LeWitt was a pioneer of Conceptual Art and a leading figure of Minimalism. He contributed to the creation of the new radical aesthetic of the 1960’s which fundamentally contradicted the Abstract Expressionism prevalent in the 1950’s. LeWitt had no interest in inherent narrative or descriptive imagery and stressed the idea behind his work over its execution. “When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art,” he proclaimed in his seminal essay Paragraphs on Conceptual Art from 1967. Until today, Sol LeWitt‘s work is regarded as one of the seminal investigations into ‘idea’ and ‘concept’ art and is still being referred to by younger generations of artists. His aim was to challenge new thinking about what art can be, using painting, drawing and printmaking merely as a technique to visualize his ideas, and not as an end. Redefining art production by investigating ideas rather than established aesthetics, Sol LeWitt pursued distilling art to its essentials. He used basic shapes and colors to create paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, examining repetitions and variations of simple forms to achieve complex relationships and patterns. Major LeWitt retrospectives have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1978), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2000) and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (2008). LeWitt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1928 and died 2007 in New York.